By HE standards Owen Roizman, who passed today at age 86, was and always will be one of Hollywood’s greatest cinematographers, certainly within the zeitgeist of the ’70s and ’80s. God, the streak Roizman was on between ’71 and ’78 alone! The French Connection, Play It Again, The Heartbreak Kid, The Exorcist, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Three Days of the Condor, Network, Straight Time. Not to mention True Confessions, Tootsie, Havana, Grand Canyon, Wyatt Earp, etc.

Special credit should be given to Roizman for stepping into that surreal episode when a William Friedkin-approved Bluray of The French Connection came out in ’09. Roizman didn’t tippy-toe around the obvious, which was that the ’09 Bluray’s bizarre color scheme (bleachy, desaturated, high contrasty) was an outright desecration. Three years later a properly remastered, Roizman-approved version was issued on a subsequent Bluray, and thank God for gloriously happy endings.

Posted on 3.8.12: “The new, Owen Roizman-approved French Connection Bluray is a blessing…a pure celluloid capturing of a great New York film experience, some of it luscious, some of it spotty and grainy but all it looking true and right. Some of it looks more lab-fresh than I’ve ever seen. Punchy red neons and such. Other parts look…well, the way they did at Leows’ 86th Street when it opened in the fall of ’71, I’m guessing. Raw, wham-bam, high-impact footage all the way.

“No more bluish bleach. No more splotchy colors and monochrome, high-contrast crap. No more creepy-perverse digital fuckwad action. The guy who mucked up the notorious 2009 Bluray version, director William Friedkin, has come to his senses and re-done his masterwork under Roizman’s influience.

“’The nation’s three-year-long, Freidkin-incited French Connection Bluray nightmare is over,’ I tweeted. ‘The bleachy, splotchy ’09 version has been replaced.’

“On 2.24.09 Roizman spoke to Aaron Aradillas on a blog-radio show called “Back By Midnight,” and he called the transfer “atrocious,” “emasculated” and “horrifying.” He said that he “wasn’t consulted” by Freidkin and he “certainly wants to wash my hands of having had anything to do with [it].”